Synopsis of Pop Music
“Sugar, ah, honey, honey,
You are my candy girl,
And you got me wanting you…”
The Archies were a bubblegum pop group that had a #1 hit, appeared frequently on Saturday morning television, and put out several albums. However, despite this success they never did any live performances or touring.
Why? Because they were cartoon characters.
The Archies began their animated lives when The Archie Show debuted on Saturday morning in September of 1968. Each episode featured a song and dance segment performed by the characters. The show’s music was supervised by Don Kirshner, the man who put together the music for The Monkees. Kirshner tapped veteran pop producer Jeff Barry to put together the snappy, kid-friendly songs The Archie Show needed.
The Archies’ songs were also issued as singles. The first one, “Bang-Shang-A-Lang,” was a #22 hit on the pop charts and got the band off to a good start. But it was a song released the next year that won the animated band its biggest success. “Sugar Sugar” was an infectious tune built on rich boy-girl harmonies and a catchy instrumental hook played on the xylophone. It went to #1 in the summer of 1969, selling six million copies and knocking The Rolling Stones off the top of the charts in the process.
The Archies went on to another sugary-sweet hit with “Jingle Jangle” in early 1970. The fictional group charted once more with “Who’s Your Baby” and would release three albums and a best-of collection before ceasing recording in 1971. However, The Archies’ original recordings are big favorites with collectors and “Sugar Sugar” has become a cornerstone of 70’s pop culture. The song was revived as a gritty r&b tune by Wilson Pickett in 1970, and one of the song’s lyrics, “pour some sugar on me,” was borrowed for the title of a hit song by Def Leppard in 1987.
The group is also notable for the singers who provided the voices of The Archies, all of whom went on to successful careers. Ron Dante, who sang all the lead vocals, went on to sing other bubblegum hits like “Tracy” and produced most of Barry Manilow’s chart successes in the seventies. Ellie Greenwich and Toni Wine, the female vocalists, enjoyed lengthy careers as a songwriter and session vocalist, respectively. Another backup singer, Andy Kim, had a #1 hit in 1974 with a solo song, “Rock Me Gently.”
These many successes clearly show the talent involved in creating the Archies was top-notch. However, the best proof lies in the music these gifted musicians created: it’s sunny, infectious, and as “Sugar Sugar” has proven, stands the test of time. No pop fan could ask for more.
Artist Release History1968 - ?
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsSugar Sugar: Best of the Archies (DJT)
Band MembersRon Dante lead vocals
Toni Wine vocals
Ellie Greenwich vocals
Andy Kim vocals
Jeff Barry writer, producer